What if there's a gift from God that awaits you this Christmas? I believe one does; perhaps more than one! It may be a gift that God has been longing to give you for years. Or, it could be a gift that's only now just right for you. My prayer for you (and for me and for my family too) this Christmas is that no one will miss out on any good thing God is prepared to give!
This has been a rich Christmas season for me already. Our "What if ..." sermon series has had me thinking in what have proven for me to be new and refreshing ways this Christmas; and that has been its own kind of gift (at least for me). We began by asking: "What if Jesus was a refugee?" Then: "What if Christmas isn't about us?" Then: "What if we aren't preparing properly?" This Sunday -- the Sunday before Christmas -- we will be asking: "What if God has a gift for you?" And on Christmas Eve we will be asking: "What if this night had never happened?"
God has also had gifts for me in each of the special times of worship we've already had the chance to enjoy this Christmas season. The Hanging of the Greens Service designed by the Rodocks and led by our youth was instructive and inspiring. The Love Light Service led by the United Methodist Women was moving. Our "Coming Home for a Salem Christmas" holiday celebration was fun and festive. Our Second Sunday Night Service last night was great: great music, great message, great meaning.
God may yet have a gift for you this Christmas. On Monday evening, 12/21, Salem will again be hosting our annual "Longest Night" service at 6:00 PM in the Sanctuary. As you know, for many the holiday season can be a complicated and challenging one. In the face of all the good reasons we have to celebrate, many are dealing with very real hurts. For some it will be the first Christmas without someone. For others it will be another Christmas without someone. For some the issues have to do with finances or health. And, without meaning to do so, we sometimes make it worse. On top of the hurt they are already feeling, people wind up feeling guilty for not feeling the way our culture (and the church) tell them they are supposed to feel. Our "Longest Night" Service is a chance to create space for the ways people are really feeling while also proclaiming that there is a light that shines in the darkness; that the days get longer and the nights get shorter; and that there is a peace that comes from knowing Jesus is Emmanuel (God with us)!
On Thursday, 12/24, Salem will host our annual Christmas Eve "Candlelight Communion" Service at 6:00 PM. The Christmas story. Christmas Carols. Candlelight. The Sacrament of Holy Communion. We would love to have you join us!
Dan has been the Pastor of Salem UMC since June, 2017. He loves preaching, the Atlanta Braves, beach vacations, and precious time with his wife Brenda and their grown sons. Read More . . .